No proof yet of social media tie in Mayfair incident, police say

Published on: 1/6/2011

Wauwatosa police said Thursday there is still no definitive proof that young people used social media websites to organize an incident that brought more than 100 disruptive teens to Mayfair Mall on Sunday.

Lt. Gerald Witkowski said investigators are still looking into the motive behind the incident.

"I can't say definitively one way or the other that's what occurred," he said of the possibility that young people went on Twitter or Facebook to organize. "I would say there is good speculation, or a theory, but we can't confirm it one way or the other."

Mall manager Steve Smith told the Journal Sentinel on Tuesday that the incident was planned through social media, probably on Facebook.

Smith said Thursday:

"We have maintained that given the manner in which this event unfolded and the apparent coordinated actions of many of the participants, this was likely organized through social media. Our continuing cooperation with the Wauwatosa police and the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, and others, focuses on sharing information we have gathered that we believe supports our contention.

"The police have a different standard for the purposes of arresting individuals, which we understand and respect."

Nine juveniles were apprehended Monday night in connection with the incident, which forced an early closing of the mall Sunday. Of the nine, Witkowski said one person was referred to the Milwaukee County district attorney's office for prosecution. The eight others have been referred to Milwaukee County Children's Court.

Wauwatosa police have confirmed that a gun was fired outside the mall late Sunday afternoon, and an attempted armed robbery was reported at a bus stop outside. A $2,000 reward has been offered through Wauwatosa CrimeStoppers.

"We're still actively investigating the attempted armed robbery," Witkowski said.

Both Mayfair and Bayshore Town Center in Glendale announced they would impose tougher teen curfews in response to the Sunday incident. Both centers now will restrict access to the center by teens under 18 on Sunday afternoons, in addition to Friday and Saturday curfews that are already in place at both centers.

Journal Sentinel reporter Doris Hajewski contributed to this report.